Changes afoot for the Virginia SOL tests

Published 11:51 am Thursday, August 11, 2016

As instructed by Steven S. Staples, Virginia Department of Education’s superintendent of public education, Virginia public schools will roll out computer adaptive testing for their student assessments known as the Standards of Learning tests.

“Computer adaptive testing is part of the VDOE’s efforts to improve the testing experience for students,” said Killi Gillette, director of special programs and instructional services for Southampton County Public Schools.

“The CAT is an assessment that is customized for every student,” she continued. “How a student responds to a question determines the difficulty of the next item. A correct response leads to a more difficult item, while an incorrect response results in the selection of a less difficult item for the student.”

CAT assessments will now be administered to students taking math SOLS in grades 3 through 8, and reading SOLS in grades 3 through 5. Previously, this type of assessment had only been used in math SOLS for those in third grade, and grades 6-8.

CAT-type testing will test students on the same content as the previous testing methods, and will mostly consist of multiple-choice questions. Approximately 15 percent of all SOL tests are made up of technology enhanced items.

“Instruction continues to be based on individual student needs,” Gillette said.